At Accolade Wines we are committed to sustainability, and it remains one of our core strategic pillars.
The majority of Accolade Wines’ brands sold in the EU and UK have been certified as carbon neutral since 2020, and 98% of all our packaging across Australia and Europe is recyclable.
This has been a genuine source of pride and motivation for us. The products that achieved carbon neutrality did so through an analysis by the Carbon Trust including measuring and verifying the carbon footprint, making carbon reductions where possible, committing to future reductions, and the purchasing of gold standard carbon offsets for any remaining emissions. This certification process has allowed us to communicate a product’s carbon neutrality on pack, online, in print and via other marketing materials.
In recent months there has been increased scrutiny around carbon offsetting and carbon neutrality claims, and this, combined with evolving and diverging environmental regulations in the UK and Europe, has meant we have taken a proactive approach to review our future sustainability strategy.
Following this review, we have decided to take the following steps:
- We are focusing on our path to Net Zero and our journey to having our Science Based Targets established and verified by March 2025 (Companies taking action – Science Based Targets);
- We are moving to a “carbon reducing” commitment, working alongside third party organisations to assess and focus on emissions reductions throughout the supply chain;
- We will be removing any claim to a product’s “carbon neutrality”;
- We will also be removing all reference to carbon neutrality from our consumer communications and replace this with a simple URL leading all interested parties to regularly updated, factual information regarding our sustainability strategies.
With regards to the removal of carbon neutrality labelling from our products, due to the complexity of our supply chain operations and the breadth of our product portfolio, this process will take some time to implement effectively. We are currently working through a transition period of removing the carbon neutrality labels and roundels from our product packaging, which we aim to complete by the end of January 2024. Due to their long shelf life and infrequent production schedules, some products with carbon neutral labels are likely to remain on shelf up to and beyond January 2024.
Our carbon neutrality verification with the Carbon Trust is valid until the end of December 2023 and the changes above will be made gradually over time. Moving forwards, we will continue to work with the Carbon Trust to measure and reduce our carbon footprint and increase our ambition to meet climate targets.
We look forward to updating you with more information in due course.
We are committed to a year-on-year reduction in our product supply chain’s carbon emissions.
Across our portfolio, we are starting to introduce lighter-weight glass bottles to reduce the glass-related CO2 . Additionally, across our ‘Boxed Wine’ consumer formats, we have replaced the multi-material bag with a single material bag which can be recycled at major supermarkets in the UK. We’re also making investments in on-site renewable energy with recent solar panel installations at one of our Australian vineyards.
Accolade Wines Europe has partnered with Climate Impact Partners to offset its currently unavoidable carbon emissions across the portfolio. Climate Impact Partners is a leader in developing and delivering high-quality, high-impact carbon market solutions for climate action. For more than 20 years, the company has worked with climate-leading businesses to support more than 600 carbon removal and reduction projects in 56 countries.
The projects we are supporting through Climate Impact Partners include innovative afforestation in Chile, clean cookstoves in South Africa, and renewable energy in the US and China. These projects not only cut carbon emissions, helping to tackle climate change, but also deliver a variety of sustainable development impacts on the ground too. For instance, the clean cookstoves project we support in South Africa not only cuts carbon emissions, it also reduces indoor air pollution, a major health issue in the developing world, saves families money on fuel, creates local jobs, and reduces deforestation in important water catchment areas.
Who are The Carbon Trust?
The Carbon Trust is a global climate consultancy driven by the mission to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future. It has been pioneering decarbonisation for more than 20 years for businesses, governments, and organisations. A leader in carbon footprinting, the Carbon Trust certiﬁes products, organisations and value chains around the world.
How does carbon offsetting work?
Behind the scenes there is a lot of complex methodology to ensure rigour and transparency, but the basic principle of carbon offsetting is very simple.
A project takes action to cut 1 tonne of CO2. An independent authority verifies the reduction has taken place and issues a 1 tonne “Emission Reduction’”. You purchase the Emission Reduction, which is retired on a public registry, so it cannot be used again. This process allows you to take responsibility for your own carbon emissions by funding a carbon-reduction project that could not take place without your investment.
Can offsetting carbon emissions really tackle climate change?
Offsetting alone is not going to tackle climate change.
We must move to a low-carbon world as quickly as possible. But, even in the best-case scenario, this transition will take time. In the meantime, we all have a carbon footprint, regardless of how hard we try to reduce it.
Until we reach a zero-carbon world we need to do something about this unavoidable, residual carbon footprint. Paying to reduce an equivalent amount of carbon emissions through voluntary carbon offsetting is the most cost effective, fast and efficient way of doing this.
Offsetting tackles climate change by:
- making real reductions in amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere that would not have happened otherwise
- providing funds for renewable technologies and energy efficient solutions
- raising awareness of the impact that our lifestyles have on the climate, encouraging us to do more to reduce our carbon footprint
Unlike other environmental impacts such as water use, it doesn’t matter where in the world carbon is reduced. This means that money spent on offsetting can be channelled to projects that deliver the maximum carbon reduction in the shortest time.
How do you know purchasing carbon credits does indeed reduce emissions?
There are strict guidelines set out by the United Nations and carbon offsetting is subject to some of the most robust measurement and verification processes in the climate and development space.
To generate carbon credits, the project developer must first demonstrate that Emission Reductions created would not have happened without their project.
Carbon reductions are then regularly measured to an agreed methodology, independently verified and only then are carbon credits issued. When you offset your carbon emissions these carbon credits are retired on a public registry and cannot be used again. This ensures that your payment directly funds a known and verified carbon reduction.
Why are the projects not based in Europe?
We work with our expert partner ClimateCare, to choose robust, high-quality projects that deliver emission reductions alongside sustainable development impacts.
Many of these projects are currently in developing economies. This is because until January 2021, the Kyoto Protocol dictated the locations of carbon reduction projects. This has now changed, giving scope for us to support projects in a wider range of locations in future, as they come online.
Isn’t carbon offsetting just a ‘get out of jail free’ card for businesses to carry on emitting greenhouse gases, rather than address their carbon footprint?
The goal of carbon offsetting is to encourage new behaviour that isn’t already being undertaken in the marketplace.
- Businesses nearly always reduce first. The first move should always be to reduce emissions. In reality, businesses invest in reducing their in-house carbon footprint before considering a payment to offset what remains. Internal reduction activities frequently save money, while investing in carbon offsetting involves a financial outlay. Few businesses make this sort of investment without first getting their own house in order and being fully committed to operating sustainably. Research shows that the typical offset buyer cut almost 17% of their scope 1 (direct) emissions, while the typical non-offset buyer reduced scope 1 emissions by less than 5% in the same year.
- Even if a business has done all it can to reduce its emissions it will still have a carbon footprint. Paying to offset it is better than not paying to offset it. Offsetting delivers real benefits for the environment, wildlife and local communities.
What is PAS 2060?
PAS 2060 is the internationally recognised specification for carbon neutrality and builds on the existing PAS 2050 environmental standard. It sets out requirements for quantification, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Why is Accolade moving away from carbon neutrality?
An increased scrutiny regarding carbon offsetting and carbon neutrality claims, and newly evolving and diverging environmental regulations in the UK and Europe, means we have taken a proactive approach to review our future sustainability strategy.
Why has Accolade removed carbon labelling from our packaging?
We want to inform our customers about the work we are doing to reduce our carbon footprint. We are removing carbon labelling on our bottles so we can deliver more detail on our sustainability strategies via our website and other channels, whilst continuing to work with the Carbon Trust to measure and reduce our carbon footprint and increase our ambition to meet climate targets. This information will be accessible through a simple URL on the back label which will lead all interested parties to regularly updated, factual information regarding our strategies.
When will we see packaging without the Carbon Neutral message?
Packaging without the carbon neutral messaging will start to hit stores in early July. Consumers will be able to access our sustainability initiatives via accoladewines.com/carbon.
When will Carbon Neutral messaging start coming off marketing materials?
Carbon neutral messaging will start coming off marketing materials from July onwards. We are currently working through a transition period of removing the carbon neutrality labels and roundels from our product packaging, which we aim to complete by the end of January 2024. Due to their long shelf life and infrequent production schedules, some products with carbon neutral labels are likely to remain on shelf up to and beyond January 2024.
What does this mean for Accolade’s sustainability commitments?
This does not affect Accolade’s commitment to reduce our environmental impact. We have recently committed to the Science Based Target Initiative with a view to implementing achievable targets alongside third party verification within the next 2 years.
Will this affect Accolade’s customers and their sustainability targets?
Accolade Wines will continue to work alongside all our customers to adhere to their sustainability requirements including the completion of annual data entry, aligning with the Science Based Target Initiative and actively working to reduce our environmental impact.
Is Accolade Wines still measuring its carbon footprint?
We are still measuring our carbon footprint in the most material areas of the business. We have also signed up to the Science Based Target Initiative and will be implementing these targets over the next two years.
What other sustainability programmes do you have in place?
Please refer to our website www.accoladewines.com/sustainability for more information on the sustainability initiatives we have in place.
How do you plan on communicating this change to consumers?
We will keep our website up to date with our environmental strategies and consumers are able to view our sustainability initiatives by following the URL on the back of the product label. Information will also be provided via relevant brand channels and teams.
What are the next steps?
Products with the new packaging will be hitting stores from July onwards. Consumers will be able to view all details on our website as products roll out into stores.
Will this mean any changes to Accolade’s winemaking process/ingredients used in the wines?
There will be no changes to our winemaking process or the ingredients used in the wines as a result of removing our carbon neutrality messaging.
Who can I reach out to for more information?
Please reach out to [email protected] in the sustainability team for more information or any further questions.
For more information on carbon offsetting, visit the Climate Impact Partners website.
 WRAP ‘Bottling wine in a changing climate’
 Our new Echo Falls glass bottles are 60g lighter than the bottles that we used before
 The single material bag can be recycled at soft plastic collection points at major supermarkets, after the tap has been removed, whereas the previous multi-material bag could only be disposed of as general waste.